Ben Affleck knows the drill when it comes to the paparazzi, but he's sick and tired of his children being followed and photographed.
In a new interview with Playboy, Affleck shares his thoughts on being in the spotlight and admits that although he's fine with photographers following him around, he's not okay with grown men chasing after his three kids -- Violet, 8, Seraphina, 4, and Samuel, 1 -- with Jennifer Garner.
“You can say what you want about me. You can yell at me with a video camera and be TMZ. You can follow me around and take pictures all you want. I don’t care. There are a couple of guys outside right now. Terrific. That’s part of the deal. But it’s wrong and disgusting to follow children around and take their picture and sell it for money,” he tells Playboy. “It makes the kids less safe. They used to take pictures of our children coming out of preschool, and so this stalker who had threatened to kill me, my wife and our kids showed up at the school and got arrested. I mean, there are real practical dangers to this.”
This issue is very important to Affleck and Garner. The actress teamed up with Halle Berry earlier this year to get Senate Bill 606 passed in California, which is aimed at protecting the privacy of the children of public figures. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, a paparazzo convicted of harassing a minor who has been singled out due to his or her parent's profession (famous actors, singers, reality TV stars, politicians, etc.) can spend up to a year in jail. Fines can also be imposed, including $10,000 for the first violation, $20,000 for the second, and up to $30,000 for the third. The law also allows the parent or guardian of the child being harassed to seek civil liability.
“My kids aren’t celebrities. They never made that bargain ... As their father it’s my job to protect them from that stuff,” Affleck explains to Playboy. “I try my very best, and sometimes I’m successful. The tragic thing is, people who see those pictures naturally think it’s sweet. They don’t see the gigantic former gang member with a huge lens standing over a four-year-old and screaming to get the kid’s attention.”
“The kids are always looking down because they’re freaked out and scared of these people," he adds. "And so they yell. Which is fine if you’re Lindsay Lohan coming out of a club, or me or any adult,” remarks Affleck. “With kids it’s tasteless at best.”